Ottawa’s Kurdish community is calling on the United States to stop Turkey’s invasion of Northern Syria.
100 protesters gathered outside the U.S. Embassy Saturday in Ottawa demanding the international community act following what they call the unjustified act of war by Turkish forces.
“Rojava is not alone,” yelled the crowd while holding flags and signs. The crowd shouted as light rain fell on the capital, many in attendance have family and friends in Syria where the threat of war and violence has ravaged the country and area; which has seen thousands of fatalities in the past two decades.
Shawn Doustan said the invasion of the Kurdish region, which began Wednesday, is designed to destabilize the Middle East and strengthen Turkey’s influence in neighbouring countries.
“They don’t want freedom in that region; they don’t want democracy in that region. Turkey is there just to kill Kurds,” said Doustan as he yelled to the crowd calling for the ouster of Turkey’s President and Prime Minister Recep Erdogan.
Another man, Jengo Dinar shouted “Baby-killer Erdogan,” while demanding his voice and the voices of thousands back home are heard. Dinar, wearing a Kurdistan hat, said the U.S. is not supporting its Kurdish allies because of the American president’s financial interests in Turkey; in a clear conflict of interest.
“The mentality of ISIS and the mentality of Erdogan is the same but Mr. Trump doesn’t understand this reality,” he said. “A lot of people cannot run, nowhere to go. Basically a lot of people get killed; especially women, elderly and children.”
Mahmut Hussein said his family back in Syria fears for their lives. His parents and brothers and their children have been scared of the threat of invasion for weeks.
“They’re in danger. There is no place to run away,” said Hussein.
“Action needed, Turkish army and Turkish brutality should be stopped and they have to stop turkey from doing that, there is going to be another massacre,” said Doustan.
Hanna Bohman experienced the fight in the Middle Eastt first-hand as a member of the YPJ female militia in Syria. Bohman said the Turkish invasion is an act of war aimed at throwing the region into disarray threatening to send millions of Syrian refugees to the Kurdish region.
“They’re essentially going to push the Kurds out of the region under the pretext that they’re trying to protect the region,” said Bohman. “The propaganda from turkey is misleading all of us. They’re trying to sell us the same way the U.S. sold us on the 2004 invasion of Iraq.
Protester Aram Tawfeeq said the U.S. is ignoring the plight of the Kurdish people who courageously defended freedom in the region alongside Canadian and American forces.
“Everybody knows who helped ISIS, who built ISIS, who trained ISIS and the only one in the Middle East who has fight against ISIS is us.”